Hershey achieved many of its sustainability goals more quickly than planned and the efforts of product lifecyle and reverse logistics leader GENCO illustrate how Hershey made it happen.
GENCO participates in Hershey’s zero-waste-to-landfill (ZWL) program which is designed to divert materials that would typically end up in landfills to alternate channels, such as recycling, reuse or incineration. GENCO worked with Hershey to help the company achieve its ZWL goal at its western distribution center in Ogden, UT. By the end of 2013, Hershey had converted six of its manufacturing facilities to ZWL, surpassing its 2015 goal of five as well as five other Hershey non-manufacturing facilities, including the Utah distribution center. GENCO is currently working to achieve ZWL status at the Midwest distribution center, in Edwardsville, IL, which it also operates for Hershey.
"We are excited to be a part of Hershey's zero-waste-to-landfill program. It is a win–win with great benefits for both of companies," said Tadd Moreland, GENCO's director of recycling services and sustainability. "This further demonstrates GENCO's commitment to helping our customers achieve the highest environmental standards as they seek ways to reduce the environmental impact of their operations."
The ZWL process at the Utah facility began by removing the trash compactor from the facility and emptying its contents in the parking lot. Sortation yielded varying results, including food/product waste, cardboard, trash and plastic as well as wood scraps and broken pallets that could be diverted from landfills. The focus then shifted to identifying new ways to collect recyclables throughout the facility and training employees on new procedures. Volunteers from each shift formed a ZWL committee to help identify recycling best practices. Placement of receptacles was strategically planned to coincide with areas where recycled materials were most commonly generated to maximize use.
The Western distribution center is one of Hershey's 11 facilities to achieve ZWL status. In addition to the ZWL progress, Hershey also announced it surpassed its goal of reducing water consumption three years early.
“Given our faster-than-expected progress, we are pushing ourselves even harder and will set new environmental goals in our next CSR report using our 2013 numbers as our baseline,” said Terry O’Day, Hershey’s SVP and chief supply chain officer. “Environmental sustainability is not a destination but a journey and one which our employees are passionate about. It’s their efforts that have allowed us to exceed our goals.”